How to Trap Cats for Fun and Profit
OK, so that’s another one of my salacious titles. You’re not really going to profit –– not financially, anyhow –– from trapping backyard strays and local ferals. You will, however, entertain yourself while attacking your neighborhood’s stray cat epidemic in a satisfying way.
No longer will you be one among the whining minions clamoring for better municipal animal control. No, you’ll be leading the charge with your responsible, cat-trapping ways.
Trapping cats for spay, neuter, vaccination and/or transportation to a shelter is a responsible act I wish every caring citizen would undertake. Instead of wringing our hands over the proliferation of strays, we should all adopt the do-it-yourself approach to curbing pet overpopulation.
Not only is cat-trapping responsible and humane, it also protects your indoor/outdoor cats from adverse (and expensive!) interactions with potentially sick cats by eliminating the territorial competition. Perhaps more importantly, trapping is also the best way to handle unknown cats safely.
Trapping is an art and a science. Luckily, it’s unscientific enough so that most anyone can accomplish it easily for their standard backyard strays. The artistry comes into the picture when the occasional feline gets too smart for our stupid human trapping tricks. Only then do we have to get more creative.
For the average, untame backyard kitty, trapping is simple. You must first, however, purchase or rent the hardware. These feline-enabled traps can be found at most major pet stores for around $50. Alternatively, many local shelters will lend you a trap for a fully-refundable deposit (usually to the tune of the price of the trap).
The most common trap variety is the “Have-a-Heart.” Its galvanized steel-mesh frame has a door on one end with an easily set, spring-loaded mechanism that releases when an animal steps onto a metal plate on its floor. that’s when the door slams shut and –– voila! –– the cat is trapped.
The only trick involves placing the trap in a shaded area with smelly food deep inside. The best time for setting the trap is in the evenings, just before the night-time prowling begins. That way you can check the trap in the morning (don’t forget!), assess the trap’s success (hopefully), call your veterinarian (or shelter), and take in your trapee.
The shade, incidentally, is important lest you forget to check your trap diligently. Leaving a hot cat out in the sun is a surefire recipe for unintended consequences –– and we don’t want those, right?
Overall, trapping’s not hard. Unless, that is, you reel in a wildlife species (opossums and raccoons are especially attracted to the contents of the average feline trap). In that case, call your vet, shelter or wildlife sanctuary for information on releasing your undesired catch.
In any case, I promise you'll profit from your labors –– even if it's in the currency of self-satisfaction that comes with knowing you're doing the right thing.
P.S. Are you a feline trapper? if so, lend us your tips!